Jan Sendzimir

Associate, based at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Austria

Jan Sendzimir

Jan is presently working in the Risk and Vulnerability Programme at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Austria.

In addition to field research on the dynamics of lake, river and forest ecosystems, Dr. Sendzimir collaborates with academia, NGOs and government on research applied to problems with complex combinations of ecological, economic and sociopolitical factors that occur over relatively large areas, such as river basins, major watersheds and mountain chains.

A major research area focuses on how ecological, social and economic interactions influence our capacity to adapt to and/or mitigate change at different scales, and how that affects the robustness and resilience of social-ecological systems to change.


Jan first came to IIASA in 1983 to work with HT Odum on the systems energy analysis of national economies.

Before that, Jan studied systems ecology as part of the environmental engineering program at the University of Florida, USA, under HT Odum (master’s degree) and CS (“Buzz”) Holling (PhD, 1998).

In the interim, he worked as a wetlands ecologist in the design and integration of natural and artificial wetlands into waste treatment systems.

Research interests

  • Water;
  • Adaptive management;
  • Action research;
  • Sustainable development;
  • Participatory science;
  • Group model building;
  • Resilience;
  • Irreversible change.